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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Sick leave and sick pay

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This is the time of year when a lot of people are getting colds and flus and may have to take time off work. Today we are going to look at what support is available if you find yourself in a situation where you have to take time off work due to illness.

Q. Can you clarify what rights to paid sick leave that employees have?

A: Until this year, 2023, you had no legal right to be paid while you were on sick leave from work, no matter how long you had worked for your employer. However, this has changed.

Since 1 January 2023, you have a right to 3 days’ sick pay a year. This is called statutory sick pay (that means the legal minimum). Sick pay is paid by your employer at 70% of your normal pay up to a maximum of €110 a day.

The entitlement to paid sick leave is being phased in over 4 years:

2023 - 3 days covered
2024 - 5 days covered
2025 - 7 days covered
2026 - 10 days covered

Sick days can be taken as consecutive days or non-consecutive days. The sick pay year is the calendar year, so it runs from 1 January to 31 December.

Q. Is every person who is in employment entitled to sick pay?

A: To qualify for statutory sick pay you must be an employee and have worked for your employer for at least 13 continuous weeks before you are sick – that’s about 3 months. You must also be certified by a GP as unable to work.

Q. Does this mean that the employee needs a medical cert to get sick pay?

Yes - under the sick leave legislation, you must be certified by a GP as unable to work to qualify for statutory sick pay. You should be certified from day 1 of your sick leave.

You have a right to SSP from the first day you are off sick. Your employer cannot apply ‘waiting days’ before you get sick pay.

Q. How is the sick pay calculated?

Your statutory sick leave payment must be paid at your normal daily rate. You are entitled to 70% of your normal gross pay, up to a maximum €110 a day.
 

Q. Some employers may already have a sick pay scheme – how does this new scheme impact on those situations?

A: Yes, some employers already pay sick leave and may already offer their employees more generous sick pay arrangements than the new statutory scheme. These would normally be outlined within your contract of employment. However, the important point to note is that any company's sick leave scheme can't be less than the statutory amount.

Q. What are my options if I experience problems getting sick pay?

A: If you do not get statutory sick pay, contact your employer to try to resolve the issue informally first.

If you cannot resolve the issue directly with your employer, you can make a formal complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Contact your local Citizens Information Centre for information on how to make a complaint to the WRC. You must make your complaint within 6 months of the dispute. The time limit can be extended for a further 6 months if there is reasonable cause for the delay.

Q. This new statutory sick pay scheme provides sick pay for a limited number of days e.g. 3 days in 2023. What happens if I am off sick for more than 3 days?

A: If you are off work sick for more than 3 days, and you have enough PRSI contributions, you can apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for a payment called Illness Benefit.

If you do not have enough PRSI contributions, you should contact the DSP’s representative at your local health centre. They will assess your situation and you may have entitlement to Supplementary Welfare Allowance which is means-tested.

Anyone needing information or advice can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie for further information.

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Rebel lights delight for Killarney star

By Con Dennehy The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball […]

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By Con Dennehy

The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball championships.

Attracting all the leading players in Ireland, it was Sarah Dineen, the Spa/Killarney player who shot out the Rebel lights in Conna with a phenomenal display of handball.

Competing in the highly competitive Ladies Challenger championship, the Killarney player, who took up the sport just 18 months ago, had the perfect start in the competition defeating the home town favourite Agnes Hurley from Conna on a 21-20 scoreline following an energy sapping and close encounter that hung in the balance to the final ace.

In her second game she took on the challenge of Nolwenn Even from St Brigids where her skill, superior fitness and movement on the court resulted in the 21-12 victory and a place in the prestigious final.

“The final was always going to be a difficult game not least playing local girl Kate O’Riordan from Conna. I concentrated on my serve and kill shots which ensured we shared the aces early in the game. It was a difficult game with the home supporters out in force to cheer on their local hero. However, I played well and secured a 21-11 victory. This was the second time this title came to Spa Killarney following the 2022 win by Aoife Walsh in Northern Ireland,” said Sarah, who is currently chairperson of the Killarney Camogie Club.

A native of Westmeath, Sarah (46) runs a jewellery business in Killarney and lives in Rathmore. No stranger to competitive sport she played camogie for Westmeath and Leinster and also won an Intermediate championship Gaelic football medal in Westmeath.

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STEM Scholarship for outstanding female student

By Michelle Crean A Killarney student attending University College Cork has received a STEM scholarship. Annie O’Donoghue (22) who is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Data Science […]

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By Michelle Crean

A Killarney student attending University College Cork has received a STEM scholarship.

Annie O’Donoghue (22) who is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Data Science and Analytics in University College Cork, was recognised as an outstanding female student in STEM2D disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design at a ceremony held at Janssen Sciences site in Ringaskiddy.

Annie, from Muckross, will receive a student award, a bursary of €1,500, industry mentoring and leadership training, along with the opportunity to attend career workshops, visit Johnson & Johnson sites and participate in WiSTEM2D events designed to support students with pursuing future STEM careers.

The Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D programme fuels the development of the female STEM2D talent pipeline by awarding and sponsoring girls and women at critical points in their educational experience and their careers, in STEM disciplines. The Undergraduate programme was first introduced at University of Limerick in 2016. Since then, it has expanded to include University College Cork in 2018, University of Galway in 2021, and Munster Technological University in 2022, supporting more than 400 female students over the last six years.

“It’s an honour to be a recipient of this award,” Annie, who is a former St Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School student, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It’s great to see the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing and Design, increase over the years.”

She added that the goal of the award is “to inspire women to pursue their career path in their respective STEM2D field of work”.  
 

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